Viruses are code-based programs that have the ability to replicate themselves inside computer and phone systems, and cause them to cease to perform. They do this by attaching to programs and files so that they are undetected. This allows the viruses to spread through the entire system. Viruses are most often hidden within unsecure applications like music, movies, images, free games and toolbars.

Hacking is mostly used to steal data or to cause financial harm to companies. Hackers employ a variety of methods, including brute force, encryption, polymorphic code, hacking, and more to gain access to sensitive information. Once this information is gained hackers can sell it or make use of it to create a botnet that can be used to attack other systems or users.

Some viruses are designed to take passwords, personal information and other sensitive data such as dates of birth. These types of viruses are known as ransomware. Ransomware attacks are quite common and have impacted large businesses like the Colonial Pipeline (world’s largest beefpacker), JBS, and the Steamship Authority ferry service.

Hackers also have the ability to steal information through attacks on unprotected websites. This is done by exploit kits. Exploit kits are programs that automatically scan websites for vulnerabilities and then install malicious software on your device without you even knowing that it has happened.

The best method to avoid being hacked is to keep your operating system, apps, and devices up to current. These updates contain critical security patches that fix vulnerabilities that hackers love exploiting. Also, be sure to choose strong passwords. A good rule of thumb is to never use any word found in a dictionary or personal information such as your date of birth.